Gooey Butter Cake is Bad, It's Nationwide.

walgreens_gooey_butter_cake_display.jpg
Robin Wheeler
Gooey butter cake no longer belongs solely to St. Louis. We can blame Paula Deen for that. (Just because it has the word "butter" in its name does not mean it belongs to you, Paula.)

In Memphis this week, Gut Check learned just how far beyond St. Louis gooey butter cake has traveled. While waiting in the check-out line at a Midtown Memphis Walgreens, we spotted this display:

"Those are so good! Go on and open it now and have a bite!" the clerk said, despite the rush-hour line waiting behind us.

We waited until we returned to the hotel. Not just because of the line, but because we didn't want to uncontrollably scream, "What the fuck have you done, putting our city's name on this processed crap?" in public. Not that it would be fair to yell this in a Memphis Walgreens, as the cake's produced in suburban Chicago under the "Cafe W" brand, a part of Walgreens' effort to infuse some coffeehouse vibe into its stores.

The ingredient list looks surprisingly like most St. Louis gooey butter cake recipes: cake batter, powdered sugar, cream cheese, eggs, vanilla, unsalted butter and four different stabilizers.

cafe_w_ooey_gooey_butter_cake.jpg
Robin Wheeler
Not just gooey butter cake -- it's ooey gooey butter cake.
Okay, stabilizers aside, that's pretty much the real thing.

Out of the wrapper, the square of cake looks similar to a bakery gooey butter cake, with distinct layers of cake, goo and the crackly top. While not quite as sweet as the St. Louis original, and a little lacking in texture, it's a reasonable facsimile of the real deal.

Perhaps all those chemicals to make it shelf-stable dull the sweetness and the gooeyness. Or maybe we're just a little homesick for Park Avenue Coffee. But for people who have never had the real thing in St. Louis, it's not bad for a shelf-stable factory cake.

Then again, so are Moonpies.

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7 comments
Andrea Harris
Andrea Harris

I just ate a couple 1/2"x1" pieces of the square of Ooey Gooey Butter Cake.  had never had the real thing, but I had seen Gooey Louie butter cakes on some Food Network show so I thought I'd give it a shot.The Cafe W version is definitely not ooey gooey.  I guess since I had never tried it I would assume that it would be more buttery, but this just tasted like a cheese danish.  I'd much rather have the cheese danish because the texture of this cake is weird for me - I think it's the "crunchy" part on top.  It's not like the flaky thin layer on top of a brownie, but instead it's pretty much just a thin layer of pure sugar.Needless to say I'll stick with the Cafe W frozen BBQ or hot chicken wings or MMM Candy cookies :)

Katherine O'Leary
Katherine O'Leary

You left out Ooey!  I had never even heard of this but now I'm addicted.  These things are so good.  I call them "Ooey Gooies."

rkDTSTL
rkDTSTL

Ok, Let's review. What Saint Louis is know for: Beer, Dog Food, Shitty Cheese, and "Gooey Butter Cake?" Great.

Chef Mad Squirrel
Chef Mad Squirrel

Never been a fan of these cakes, wasn't raised here. But as a baking and pastry student I can appreciate it.

Mike N.
Mike N.

You can wash it down with Walgreen's new Big Flats beer -- $2.99 a six pack!

Eric K.
Eric K.

That's because it's not called "oozy gooey."  It's called "gooey butter cake."  And no, Paula Deen did not invent it, even though she apparently claims to have done so.

leener
leener

Delicious shitty cheese, and toasted ravioli are the best fried food in the world.

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